When I speak to long-term care groups, whether to those in leadership positions or to direct care staff, it’s clear that virtually all the audience members have been drawn to the industry because of their love of elders.
The travails of the past year and a half, however, have likely depleted the energy and enthusiasm of workers at every level.
COVID-19, the sudden loss of too many residents both beloved and new, the heartache of visitor restrictions, the excessive focus on profit, vaccine hesitancy and vaccine mandates, staff shortages, budgetary woes – there are many reasons why those of us with a passion for long-term care might be feeling particularly strained right now, perhaps even wondering if it’s possible to continue in the field.
Below are some ideas on how to stay the course when the present is extremely challenging, and the future is far from certain.
- Focus on the residents: No matter what role one has in a senior care organization, our ultimate purpose is to help seniors. When all else seems to be going haywire, paying attention to the positive impact we’re having on individual residents can be gratifying and act as a compass during a stormy time in the industry. This is our true north.
- Focus on your team: Maintaining a business of providing competent care is a team effort. If a focus on residents isn’t doing it for you, a shift towards supporting, encouraging and growing teams and teammates might offer enough perspective to make the job rewarding again. Complimenting a coworker on a situation well handled, initiating an employee support program, inviting a colleague to lunch – these are all ways in which to invest in the workforce, gain strength and redefine one’s purpose.